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Thread: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Gosh. I'm 68 and recently hiked over a hundred miles in the high country with a 65 lb pack - which would have been my definition of "ultralight" a decade or two ago. Desert canyon hiking was way heavier, or adding real mountaineering gear. Day hikes can obviously be much lighter. But in the mtns you always want a rain parka and light coat or sweater along too, and not just photo gear, or you risk becoming a statistic. Conditioning takes commitment. Get a good pack and gradually build up the weight until your back and shoulder muscles are accustomed, and you gain stamina. But it sure beats running on treadmill in a stinky gym, like a hamster in a cage.

  2. #12

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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Please plan to carry at least 1 liter of water per hour of hiking.

  3. #13

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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    I also train with my backpack - 25 to 40 lbs. on my back, in my RPT P-3, every day (no matter what the weather) that I'm not actually out photographing. As I now find myself, at age 63, more compelled than ever to venture into the high peaks with my gear, this training is absolutely essential (and yes...does it ever beat the gym!). When I am out photographing...I need to arrive at a given location with the ability to do more than simply gasp for air.

    I do have three basic "kits" to choose from for backpacking...the simplest/lightest consists of a Gowland 4x5, from one to three lenses (90/135/210) six holders, Pentax spot meter, lightweight dark cloth, Feisol 3441T and PhotoClam, and a few filters. This, with a couple of Cliff bars, a liter or two of water (two to four if I'm in the desert), plus some extra foul weather and other safety accessories, adds up to about fifteen to twenty pounds. For about the same or a bit less weight, plus better logistics when on the move in variable weather, I pack Fuji/Voigtlander MF cameras (667 and 667W), spot meter, Feisol, and a few rolls of 120TMY, three or four filters. Either of these "lighter" kits fit into my Deuter backpack (very comfortable, sculpted mesh back for great ventilation, and nicely suspended). Heavier (between 25 and 40lbs., more in the desert due to extra water) would be either an L-45 (4x5), a 5x7 L-57 (modified L-45), 12 holders in cascade cases, three to five lenses, meter, cloth, Gitzo CF tripod with magnesium head, extra gear, food, water, in my RTP P3 pack. Do keep in mind that these are day-hike outfits...and that adding a tent, sleeping bag, jet boil stove, extra food, etc. pretty much eliminates (at least these days, at my age and level of fitness) anything but either the Gowland or Voigtlander kits, although I do have plans to cobble together a "hobo" style 5x7 if I can find the time.

    About water...back east I can usually get by with one liter (or less) if I also pack my Sawyer water filter - saves overall weight and works great.

    But...Drew...65lbs? Yeah, for me...maybe back in the day - but...jeesh - Thats gotta hurt!

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Nah. I'm perfectly comfortable with much more wt than that. But long-haul travel over steep terrain requires some compromises at my age. The secret is a good pack properly packed and adjusted, serious boots that fit properly, and decent walking poles (my knees actually feel better than in my 40's due to spring-loaded poles. I have painful somewhat deformed feet, so wear expensive custom boots, but these are so well made that they turn out to be a bargain, outlasting many pairs of store-bought boots. It helps me to alternate types of exercising : fast walking with a small format shoulder bag, alternating on other days with a heavy pack on steep hills. It's easy to have sufficient wt with an 8x10 system; but I often deliberately increase that with other stuff. Yeah, I've slowed down a bit, but have no intention of losing momentum. That will inevitably come, but not without a fight!

  5. #15

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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    My pack, for multi-day trips in the Sierra with bear can, food, fuel and at least two liters of water, just tips 50 pounds. Good boots, socks and rain gear are high on my list of "don't leave home without it".
    Last edited by BradS; 6-Mar-2018 at 15:01.

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Dang bear cans! Hopefully bear sacks will be approved everywhere, even Yosemite. I've never had a bear incident in my life, but I avoid Yogi Bear vs Ranger Rick areas to begin with. My carbon fiber bear barrel isn't heavy, but just misery to tug out of a pack already overloaded with view camera gear. There are only three discrete popular spots in SEKI requiring them.

  7. #17

    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    so wear expensive custom boots
    Drew, I'm curious as to who made your boots--I just had a pair of Esatto's (a Vancouver, Washington company) resoled after multiple thousands of miles on them and was just about to pull the trigger on having them make me a new pair.

    At any rate, you're giving me hope--I honestly didn't see much difference between age 35 and 45, but 55 is feeling a bit different...

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Yes, Essato. They now also offer a more expensive line of true mountaineering boots, but those days are over for me.

  9. #19

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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    Five years ago, I had my hiking boots custom made by Peter Limmer in Intervale, NH. Figured these would be my last pair of hiking boots - ever, and when I die I'll be burned and ground to ashes and buried in them!

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ideal weight of the back pack to hike in Southern California?

    My previous custom pair was from an old-school mtn bootmaker and lasted eight resolings! ... but were misery to break in. Esatto has a special method making post-production readjustment possible for a nearly perfect fit. They also use modern methods, presumably CNC, to size and cut the respective components quick and cost-effective prior to stitching. The only thing I had a problem with were the little metal lace clasps which gradually needed to be replaced.

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